This was my third MIX (I joined Microsoft a few months after the first) and once again I spent most of the time behind the scenes.
At MIX07 I worked with one Keynote partner, at MIX08 I had partners with demos and presentations in both keynotes and for MIX09 I was the designated “Partner Wrangler” working with the non-Microsoft partners who had demos on-stage. I have to thank Mike (our Keynote owner) for the opportunity this year.
MIX this year was about the “Return on Experience” and was where we announced the final release of ASP.NET MVC as well as the developer beta of Silverlight3 so most of my focus was in those areas.
Once again I was lucky enough to be working with some really great partners who had great stories for us to bring to the event to show off the technologies – so all I really have to do is make sure they get the support they need to finish their applications in time for rehearsals that night before the keynote!
So, who was I wrangling?
The first partner demo in the MIX Keynote was StackOverflow – a great community site for developers to help each other, built on ASP.NET MVC (with standards compliant HTML) and optimized for Search Engine Optimization. Jeff and Joel have a great story and deliver it – like StackOverflow – simply.
The second partner I worked with was Netflix. Kevin McEntee talked about how Netflix has been using Silverlight both to improve the user experience on both PC and Mac, but also driving the quality of their roll-out to hardware such as the Roku or XBox360 platforms. Kevin and Steve Swasey from Netflix sat down with Tim Harris to give a bit more background on the story.
Much to my amusement I was called on to join Kevin on stage for a few moments at the end of his talk to drive a demo of the Adaptive Streaming technology in the Netflix Instant Watch player. What was really cool about working with Netflix this year was that they were the first partner I worked with back at MIX07 ;)
My third partner were Bondi Digital Publishing and Vertigo Software. They have worked together to create an amazing on-line magazine archive viewing platform that takes microfiche content, scans and uses OCR to grab the text, massage the meta data to add some intelligence (linking the contents to the articles, flagging adverts vs content etc) and then display them on the web. At MIX David Anthony from Bondi and Scott Stanfield from Vertigo demonstrated their “next generation” Silverlight3 based platform with Rolling Stone content but after the keynote they launched PlayboyArchive (NSFW!) using Silverlight2.
Tim also sat down with David and Murat Aktar from Bondi and Scott from Vertigo to discuss how they are changing the magazine industry.
My last (but certainly not least) partner was KEXP. As one of the most successful internet radio stations (and the most successful not-for-profit internet station) they have a never-ending challenge to improve their connection with their audience by delivering high quality content wherever their users are. Taking advantage of the forthcoming Silverlight3 features such as Out of Browser and Offline support combined with cloud services KEXP are looking to the future to make sure they stay at the leading edge. Tom Mara and Aaron Starkey talked about the business benefits as well as demonstrated a prototype of their work. They also provided more background in a video interview shot at their studios.
If you want to see how my partners fit into the overall keynote you can view the on-demand video, or check out Tim Sneath’s live blog of the keynote and of course don’t forget to mark your calendar because MIX10 is coming at Mandalay Bay 15-17 March 2010.